Gymnastics senior day says goodbye to five gymnasts

Michael Neenan, Reporter

The Kent State gymnastics team held its annual senior day for the graduating gymnasts on Sunday’s meet against Central Michigan. 

Seniors Olivia Amodei, Rachel DeCavitch, Karlie Franz, and Taylor Wentland as well as graduate student Cami Klein were all recognized for their time at Kent State.

After the competition  concluded, each graduating gymnast was recognized for their contributions to the program and received commemorative framed leotards.

“To watch them continue to grow and mature and get more confident,” coach Brice Biggin said. “That’s what our job is all about. It’s really seeing them mature and grow and really become great human beings.”

With the regular season over, the graduating gymnasts reflected on their time as Flashes.

“Being at Kent has literally been amazing,” Karlie Franz said. “I have my whole family here and they all live really close. So them being at every home meet literally just means the world to me.”

Franz scored at 9.900 or above on the floor in six straight meets this season and recorded a career high of 9.925 at the Northern Illinois Tri-Meet on Feb 4. 

Franz will be graduating in May with a focus in child psychology.

“Competing here has been such an honor and the team here is really like a family,” Taylor Wentland said. “So it’s just been amazing to grow so close with the girls and really build relationships with the coaches.”

Wentland, who is graduating with a focus in molecular biology, discussed her plans to stay involved with gymnastics after finishing her collegiate career.

“I will absolutely be involved with gymnastics,” Wentland said. “I have loved gymnastics since I was four years old. I know that I’m going to be following Kent, especially throughout the season and I always love like watching all meets.”

Cami Klein discussed her experience spending an extra year on the team as a graduate student.

“It’s been a little tough, but that’s not anything that I wasn’t aware of coming into it,” Klein said. ”It’s definitely a mental and physical game at this point. But having all 21 girls having my back, it’s made it an enjoyable process.”

Currently there are four juniors on the team who will be seniors during the 2023-24 season and Biggin has high hopes for them.

“I think we have the potential for very good leadership. They’re not a huge number of juniors but they’ve been successful,” Biggin said. “If they do the right things this summer and really come back and ready to go, I think they’re going to be phenomenal seniors next year.”

“I think that they’re a very strong class,” Olivia Amodei said. “They compete a lot and so they have a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge and they worked really close with us this year. So I hope that that helps them.”

This season, Amodei recorded the second most points for the team.

The highest scoring gymnast was Rachel DeCavitch who earned 17 all-around titles throughout her collegiate career and will be graduating with a focus in communication studies.

The Flashes next meet is at the Mid-American Conference Championships on Saturday. This year, the meet is hosted by Kent State.

“I think that we just need their support and their energy, because it really helps and it helps being at home,” Amodei said. “We have a lot of alumni coming back, so we’re really excited for that.”

“Let’s bring it,” Klein said. “Let’s intimidate the other teams. Let’s be loud, let’s be supportive, have each other’s backs.”

The MAC Championship meet is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday in the M.A.C. Center.

Michael Neenan is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]